Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on in Austria on Friday with The Local's short roundup of today's important news.

People enjoy sunny weather in Vienna's Stadtpark. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
People enjoy sunny weather in Vienna's Stadtpark, Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Further opening steps for June 10th  to be announced at noon

Further opening steps for June 10th will be announced in Austria around noon. Shops will be able to let in more customers with distance restrictions significantly reduced from 20 to ten square meters per customer, according to Der Standard newspaper citing “government circles”. The curfew will be extended to midnight. A maximum of eight instead of the previous four people (excluding children) will be able to sit at one table in the interior of bars and restaurants. Outside, the number of people will be increased from ten to 16. 

READ MORE: Austria set to further relax coronavirus measures on June 10th

Politician calls for end of entry registration at borders

ÖVP Salzburg politician Wilfried Haslauer also wants the government to discuss ending entry registration at the borders, saying it is leading to unnecessary traffic jams and “enormous expenditure”. 

Czech Republic opens borders to tourists who have been vaccinated at least once

The Czech Republic will open its borders to Austrian tourists with at least one vaccination dose on Monday. People who have already been vaccinated can enter the country without restrictions.  Vaccination certificates from Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will be recognised in the Czech Republic. In addition, restaurants in the Czech Republic will again be able to receive guests inside from Monday.

READ MORE: Austria’s easing of border restrictions leads to chaos at Vienna airport

Russia refused to allow flight from Vienna to Moscow 

Russia refused permission for a plane travelling from Vienna to Moscow to change its flight route to avoid Belarus airspace, Der Standard newspaper reports. As a consequence AUA had to cancel  the scheduled flight OS601 from Vienna to Moscow planned for Thursday morning. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called the Russian reaction “incomprehensible”. The state-owned Belarusian airline Belavia landed and took off in Vienna on Wednesday, but Belavia has now  stopped its flights to Austria and other EU countries.

Austria’s National Vaccination Committee backs vaccine for children

The European Medical Agency is expected to decide on Friday whether to approve the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine. Pediatrician Albrecht Prieler, who is a member of Austria’s National Vaccination Committee (NIG) said it was important children should be protected with a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible. He said even if if Covid-19 was usually milder in children, there was still a “residual risk” of a severe course, adding without vaccinating children it will “never be possible” to achieve herd immunity, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper.

READ MORE: Is Austria moving towards vaccinating children against Covid

Warmer weather on the horizon

It is finally about to get warmer in Austria after a record-breaking spell of cold weather this spring, broadcaster ORF promises. The spring has not been this cold since 1991 and 1996, it reports, though the temperatures would have been considered normal in the 1960s and 70s.  In Klagenfurt and on the Loibl pass in Carinthia, May was one of the rainiest ever since records began. Unusually large amounts of mountain snow also meant there were fewer thunderstorms this year in May.

Seven day incidence at 41

Austria’s seven-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 41.1 according to the AGES database. In all federal states, the number is now well below 100 – with Vorarlberg (83.3) and Burgenland (21.4) having the highest and lowest values, respectively.

Changes to debt capital tax law proposed

Finance Minister Blümel wants to treat debt capital in the same way as equity in terms of tax law. Blümel said he wants to create more resilience. At a press conference on Thursday he said the equity ratio of the companies should increase by an average of two percentage points – from 36 to up to 38 percent, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports . The Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) welcomes the proposals, but the Chamber of Labour (AK), and the SPÖ  said only large, profitable companies with good equity capital benefit from the measure and would have to pay fewer taxes. 

People still want to work in an office despite boom in home working

People still want to work in an office despite the rise of home working, according to Bruno Ettenauer, head of S Immo AG in Die Presse  newspaper. He says office properties in good locations will remain “very attractive” for investors, while Franz Jurkowitsch, CEO of the real estate developer Warimpex, has not noticed any massive slumps in the office market either, saying the pandemic has primarily affected the hotel and commercial property asset classes. 

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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Paediatricians warn of respiratory diseases, ex-Wirecard CEO to go on trial, Austria to seize cars from illegal road racers and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
  • Paediatricians warn of respiratory diseases 

Influenza, Covid, colds and, above all, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): these viruses are pushing paediatric wards and hospital doctors to their limits. 

It’s being exacerbated by the acute shortage of paediatricians and supply problems with medicines, broadcaster ORF reported.

The Viennese paediatrician Peter Voitl told Austrian media that what is happening in his and other paediatricians’ practices is “unbelievable”. 

“Countless children” are currently coming into the practice – and because the children’s departments of the hospitals are also at their limits, many can “currently only be treated as outpatients”. But they actually need appropriate treatment and monitoring in the hospital, he added.

Voitl has appealed to people to get vaccinated against influenza. This is because multiple infections – and thus an illness from both RSV and influenza – is also possible.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How to get a flu vaccination in Austria?

  • Five books to read to understand Austria

Austria is a small landlocked country of about 9 million residents, but it was once a powerful (and enormous) empire. How did that change? Here are five books that can help you understand the country as it is now.

  • Ex-Wirecard CEO goes on trial over ‘unparalleled’ fraud

Austrian-born Markus Braun and two other former Wirecard executives will appear in the courtroom Thursday on charges of commercial gang fraud, breach of trust, market manipulation and accounting manipulation.

Once hailed as a standard-bearer for the German tech industry, Wirecard imploded spectacularly in 2020 after admitting that €1.9 billion missing from its accounts probably didn’t exist.

The Munich district court has scheduled 100 court dates for the mammoth trial, The Local Germany reported.

Braun, who has been in custody for over two years, denies any wrongdoing.

The 53-year-old has pointed the finger at Wirecard’s fugitive former chief operating officer, Jan Marsalek, a shadowy figure with alleged ties to foreign intelligence agencies.

READ ALSO: Austria detains ex-spy suspected of selling secrets to Russia

  • Austria to seize cars from illegal road racers

Austria announced plans on Monday to toughen legislation looking to curb illegal street races in the country, including the seizure of vehicles, as The Local reported.

“If you don’t have a car anymore, you can’t race”, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said on Monday when the government announced plans to toughen legislation against illegal street racing. 

According to the government’s plans, drivers in Austria who are found guilty of extreme speeding will have their cars seized and auctioned off. In addition, the administration wants to deter what they called “boy racers” by threatening to take away their prize possession.

If someone drives more than 60 kilometres per hour above the speed limit within a local area – or 70 kilometres per hour outside it – the car will, in future, be confiscated by the police directly on the spot. The driver’s licence will also be taken away.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

Rain or snow will continue to fall at times, especially in the northern regions, with the snow line at 300 to 900m, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. 

On the other hand, there is widespread sunny weather in the west and south, with only a little cloud cover. 

There will be a light to moderate wind from the west. In the east, wind could be brisk in some areas. The daily high temperature ranges between 3C and 9C.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].